All set for 2016 CEV Volleyball European League
The format of the competition has changed this year with round-robin tournaments replacing the double home and away matches played last year in the group stage.
The eventual winners of the 2016 CEV Volleyball European League will be candidates to join the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World League / FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix. Providing that they meet the FIVB requirements for these competitions, they will replace the lowest ranked European teams from 2016.
The 2016 men’s European League will feature eight teams divided into two pools of four each. Two single round-robin tournaments will be played in each pool.
The pool composition reads as follows:
Pool A: Bulgaria, FYR Macedonia, Denmark, Albania
Pool B: Estonia, Belarus, Austria, Luxembourg
Albania and Luxembourg – gold medallists from last year’s CEV Small Countries Division European Championship – are making their debut in the competition. Two of the teams that competed in last year’s Final Four in Walbrzych, Poland - that is FYR Macedonia and Estonia - will be trying to improve on respectively the silver medal and fourth place they settled for in 2015. The pool composition was determined by means of the latest European Ranking List for men’s national teams and distributed using the serpentine system.
The competition will get underway from June 3-5 in Estonia with the first round robin tournament in Pool B before the second follows on June 9-11 in Austria. Bulgaria and FYR Macedonia will host the two legs of the League Round in Pool A on June 10-12 and 17-19 respectively.
The 2016 women’s European League features 12 teams - twice as many as in 2015 - which were split into three pools of four each as follows:
Pool A: Poland, Belarus, Slovakia, Albania
Pool B: Azerbaijan, France, Spain, Montenegro
Pool C: Romania, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia
Hungary will attempt to retain the crown they won in 2015 edging Turkey in the finals. Albania, Slovakia and Montenegro - whose men’s national team claimed top honours in 2014 - celebrate their first appearances in the competition. A number of other teams are returning to the European League stage after a break for what promises to be a very exciting competition.
The women’s European League will start from June 3-5 in Poland, Montenegro and Hungary for Pools A, B and C respectively. Matches in Pools B and C continue from June 10 to 12 in France and Greece and from June 17 to 19 in Albania for Pool A.
The 2016 European League will reach its climax with the final stage whose organisers are still to be confirmed. If no organiser comes forward, the competition will continue with home and away matches through to the game determining the eventual gold medallists of the 2016 edition. The provisional dates for the women’s Final Four are June 24-26. The men’s European League is due to come to an end one week later.
CEV President Boričić was pleased with the outcome of the meeting and emphasised the importance of a competition which has established itself over the years as an opportunity to grow the next generation of elite players. He also drew the participants' attention to the prize money pot – € 150,000 across both genders.